DUBLIN (AFP) – Ireland put their Euro 2016 disappointment firmly behind them with a star-spangled 4-1 victory over the USA at Lansdowne Road on Tuesday night.
Martin O’Neill’s men thrilled the large crowd with a performance that provided plenty of optimism after the disappointing 1-0 defeat to Scotland last Friday night.
This was only a friendly encounter but the performance of Robbie Brady and debutants Cyrus Christie and David McGoldrick – who had two assists on the night – will please both management and support ahead of next year’s qualifying challenges.
O’Neill made 11 changes to the side that started in the defeat to Scotland, with a host of fringe players given the opportunity to impress, and with Anthony Pilkington and Brady (two) scoring, it worked.
Derby County’s Christie and Ipswich Town’s McGoldrick made their debuts and also did their chances no harm, with the latter particularly impressive.
Jurgen Klinsmann, coming off the back of a 2-1 defeat to Colombia in London, made seven changes to his side – with four MLS stars allowed to return to their clubs ahead of the weekend’s championship games.
The Americans still fielded a more experienced starting XI than the Irish, and so it was surprising that they began so slowly.
If anything, this shadow Ireland team looked the more comfortable all around, and it took just seven minutes for the opening goal to arrive.
McGoldrick received possession just inside the US half and returned the ball to Anthony Pilkington with a perfectly weighted through ball, cutting the visitor’s defence wide open.
The Cardiff City winger complemented his team-mate’s skill with a stunning chip finish over Bill Hamid in the American goal to give Ireland a deserved lead.
Alejandro Bedoya, one of few Americans to impress in the first half, did well on the right wing, but his cut back to Max Diskerud was cleared by Christie.